Blue-chips and start-ups to share the Travel Forward stage

Blue-chips and start-ups to share the Travel Forward stage

Travel Forward Stage will welcome some of travel technology’s established players including Sabre, MasterCard and SITA

Travel Forward, the global event for travel technology co-located with WTM London, has revealed the line-up for this year’s conference programme which features one of the travel industry’s most exciting start-up competitions.

This year’s physical event is taking place at ExCeL London from Monday 1 November to Wednesday 3, 2021 and will be followed by WTM & TF Virtual taking place on November 8-9.

The conference programme comprises multiple tracks, offering a mix of panel discussions, Q&As, fireside chats, keynotes, sponsored sessions and competition.

All speakers will inspire and educate their peers, sharing best practices for the wider good.

For 2021, Travel Forward has linked up with World Tourism Foundation Lucerne (WTFL) for the Front Runners Travel Tech Competition and Summit, taking place on the Tuesday afternoon from 14:00. The mini-conference includes a start-up pitch competition. Some 350 early-stage businesses from 80 countries pitched their plans, virtually, to a panel of judges which came up with a short-list of three for each of the categories – smart mobility, hospitality and experiences.  The overall winner will be picked from the category winners.

As well as start-ups, Travel Forward is welcoming some of travel technology’s established players. Sabre, the leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry and one of the Travel Forward Stage partners, will explain how personalisation and retailing will shape the future of the hospitality industry. Charlotte Lamp Davies from consultancy A Bright Approach will interview Scott Wilson, EVP & president, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, from 14:00 on Monday 1 November.

Payments are an area of increasing interest and importance for Travel Forward’s audience. Mastercard will be on stage, with its executive vice president Kevin White explaining how advances in payment technology can make life easier for agents and suppliers. He is talking on the Travel Forward Stage on Tuesday from 12:30.

The travel industry’s relationship with sustainability has always been a focus for WTM London and Travel Forward. This year, airline and airport technology supplier SITA will be talking about the specific ways technology is helping the aerospace industry to not only reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but also become a more sustainable industry and a greater force for good. Yann Cabaret from SITA will be interviewed on the Travel Forward Stage by John Strickland from JLS Consulting. The session takes place on Monday at 15:15.

Elsewhere, Harold Goodwin, WTM’s responsible tourism advisor, is also addressing responsible technology. A session at 10:30 on the Tuesday will concentrate on case studies around how technology can encourage behavioural change in travellers.

Marketing is another area where travel companies are seeing the beneficial potential of technology. A three-hour mini-conference hosted by The Five Percent, an online learning community for early-stage and transitional entrepreneurs, talks place on the Wednesday afternoon. Sessions are moderated by CEO and co-founder Marcus Murphy.

The three-day summit kicks off at 10:30 on the Monday, setting the tone with a session on artificial intelligence, hosted by Charlotte Lamp Davies from consultancy A Bright Approach and featuring speakers including Andy Owen-Jones, CEO and co-founder of bd4travel and Sundar Narasimhan, President Product Labs and Product Strategy at Sabre

The opening morning also includes a discussion based on Travolution’s latest Innovation Report and a look at how technology can help hotels manage staff during the fragmented return to travel.

Cybersecurity was a concern for the industry before COVID and should be an area of intense focus for firms as travel restarts. A session hosted by James Cocker from InfoSecurity Group on Wednesday at 11.30am.

Simon Press, Exhibition Director, Travel Forward, said: “We believe there will be a post-COVID travel event bounce back – it’s already happening – and we are determined that Travel Forward, in a crowded field, will be on every technology company’s priority list. We set the bar very high with our previous conferences, and 2021 will be as strong as its predecessors.

We’re particularly excited about Front Runners. Travel Forward is committed to supporting travel tech start-ups and the tie-up with WTFL strengthens our appeal to the ecosystem and takes Travel Forward to the next level.”


World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. In 2020, WTM Virtual facilitated 20,000+ meetings and held 42 live content sessions over the 3-days show.

Next live event: Monday 1 to 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next WTM Virtual: Monday 8 to 9 November 2021 – Virtual

Travel Forward London is the leading travel technology event, co-located with WTM London. Travel Forward is renowned for showcasing the next-generation technologies for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Over 19,000 travel officials and 150+ innovative solution providers attend for 3 days of cutting-edge insights, open debate and unrivalled networking opportunities. The combination of a 2-day conference, interactive exhibition and start-up showcase makes Travel Forward truly unique.

Next live event: Monday 1 November to Wednesday 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next Travel Forward Virtual: Monday 8 November to Tuesday 9 November 2021 – Virtual

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 29 October – Friday 5 November 2021

WTM & TF Virtual, is the WTM Portfolio virtual platform, created to offer global delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings, to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more. WTM Virtual embrace the global leading travel shows in one platform.

WTM Latin America takes place annually in São Paulo and attracts around 19,000 tourism professionals during a three-day event. The show offers qualified content, as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – the first 100% virtual – WTM Latin America followed its focus on effective business generation and reached the milestone of 4,200 meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors.

Next event: Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April 2022 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

WTM Global Hubis the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world-leading events, content and digital tools that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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